Hanok villages are unique to Korea, and we highly recommend you find time to visit one during your stay in Korea.
For the uninitiated, a hanok is essentially a traditional Korean house. Hanok villages are neighborhoods that housed lively communities in hanoks back during the post-Korean war period. However, over time, the country modernized and people moved through to the cities, and the surplus of these hanok villages meant that plans were put in place to demolish them for bigger, ‘better’ things.
Ikseondong’s community, though, stuck together through the bid for such plans to go through. Through sheer determination and passion, it has developed into the popular Ikseondong Hanok Village that it is today.
Ikseondong Hanok Village is currently a neighborhood located in a quiet area of Seoul. It’s relatively easy to locate on the map and convenient to get to, yet it remains under the radar for many people (which is a great thing, to be honest!).
It used to be a quiet hanok village filled with families, but now it’s a stunning, delicate maze of small alleyways that weave together to create a little neighborhood full of surprising gems.
Part of its pizzaz can be attributed to the young creatives who banded together in the early 2000s to bring life back into Ikseondong Hanok Village. From selling vintage items to showcasing their artistic creations, word spread about the unique finds of Ikseondong Hanok Village, and sure enough, it developed into the thriving community that it is today.
Thrift shopping and supporting local artists is a great way to explore Ikseondong Hanok Village, however, it’s the quaint, adorable cafes that truly bring character to the area.
The 12 Best Things To Do In Ikseondong Hanok Village
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path of Seoul, we highly recommend you look into exploring Ikseondong Hanok Village. Let’s have a read of how you can explore this quaint little neighborhood in Seoul.
- Photoshoot In the Alleyways
- Madang Flowers & Cafe
- Cafe Ruska
- My Poetry
- Gyeongseong Flea Market
- Hotel Seine
- Cafe Highwaist
- Tteuran Tea House
- Rent Vintage Costumes at Ikseon Boutique
- LeeJangSoo Lounge
You will also find the location of all these beautiful places in the map below.
1. Photoshoot In the Alleyways
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Our first recommendation is, of course, to not have an actual itinerary for a while and simply peruse the streets of Ikseondong Hanok Village. The area is made up of tiny side streets and alleyways, and it’s impossible to pinpoint which part is the most photogenic because all corners have their charm.
Old cobblestones, traditional Hanok buildings, leafy greens, and minimalistic modern architecture combine to produce an endearing aesthetic that Instagrammers can only dream of. Step off the train, bring out your camera, and snap away!
2. Flower Yard Cafe
If you’re looking for an aesthetic cafe to order aesthetic drinks and take aesthetic photos, Flower Yard Cafe should be your first stop. This is arguably the most popular cafe in all of Ikseondong, and for good reason.
Characterized by its signature bright umbrellas hanging on the outside and extravagant floral display inside, Madang is not to be missed. Stepping into this cafe feels like you’re stepping into a fairy tale world.
There are adorable photo opportunities everywhere you look, and numerous areas to sit and sip, including inside the cafe space or outside in the courtyard.
- Address: 33-12 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 7:30am – 12:00am
3. Cafe Ruska
Cafe Ruska is a quaint cafe with a stunning hanok exterior that you’ll simply fall in love with. The beautiful wooden entrance will remind you of the romantic Joseon-era K-dramas that you love!
Cafe Ruska offers indoor seating as well as a relaxing courtyard area to relax. Whilst you’d be inclined to order a coffee to energize for the day, Cafe Ruska’s tea selection might just sway you. Choose from leafy Korean Sejak green tea to green tea made from the leaves of Jiri Mountain, you’d be hard-pressed to select only one.
If you have time for a wander, check out Ruska’s handmade tableware, which pays homage to traditional and modern Korean aesthetics.
- Address: 35 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm
Watermeal is the epitome of the minimalistic modern aesthetic that people from around the world have fallen in love with. Think of bright natural lighting, wooden textures, simple displays, and zero distractions.
Watermeal is a restaurant that you’d go to for looks, but stay for the relaxing atmosphere. They offer savory meals as well as sweets, and their table settings are organized so that you can be mesmerized by the water display.
- Address: 33-7 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: Mon to Fri: 11:30am-3:00pm, 5:00pm-9:00pm, Sat & Sun: 11:30am-9:00pm
5. My Poetry
If you’re a fan of unique jewelry designs, make sure you head to My Poetry in the Ikseondong Hanok Village. This quaint little shop boasts amazing and creative jewellery that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.
They specialize in rings and necklaces that embody the cute essence of the Korean style. We always try to recommend places where you can support local businesses, and this is one worth checking out in between all the cafe hopping!
- Address: 23 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 12:00pm-10:00pm
6. Gyeongseong Flea Market
Contrary to the shop name, this isn’t exactly a market! The Gyeongseong Flea Market is an adorable clothing store that specializes in vintage-inspired clothing.
The best thing about this store is that most of its items are free-flowing and are labeled as ‘free size’, meaning they’ve been carefully curated to fit most body shapes. Head here if you’re looking to be inspired by Korean vintage fashion, we’re certain you’ll be able to find a few things on the rack!
If you bring cash, you’ll be able to get a bit of a discount as well!
7. Hotel Seine
Part hotel, part cafe, part bakery, part rooftop lounge – Hotel Seine has got it all.
This quaint vintage hotel is a fantastic place to stay if you’re looking for some quiet, off-the-beaten-path vibes, but if you’re not, you can always visit for the day!
The hotel is also home to a bakery, a cafe, and a rooftop lounge that spans six entire floors! Of course, the rooftop lounge is the most popular and it’s where you’ll see most visitors vying for a spot. Overlooking the small city surrounded by buildings, it’s a great place to unwind for a little while.
If you’ve lucked out on getting a spot on the lounge, there are plenty of day beds and romantic table settings tucked away in little corners to mull away at.
- Address: 28-5 Donhwamun-ro 11-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 12:00pm-10:00pm
8. Cafe Highwaist
As adorable cafes go, Cafe Highwaist is exactly what you’d picture if you were to gel together the minimalistic nature aesthetic of Korean cafes with European-inspired interiors and displays.
It’s one of the more popular cafes in Ikseondong and you’ll always see small crowds of enthusiastic cafe-goers and bakery-lovers lined outside to get a taste. Their famous chocolate flavor dog-shaped cookie is the number one seller here, but all of their cakes are pretty tasty if we do say so ourselves.
For cute Korean cafe aesthetics and vibes, this place is a must.
- Address: 18 Donhwamun-ro 11da-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
9. Tteuran Tea House
Throwing back nearly 15 years will get you Cafe Tteuran, one of the first ‘new’ establishments of Ikseondong Hanok Village during its re-establishment phase.
The exterior is a gorgeous wooden hanok that begs to be explored. Inside, you’ll bear witness to stunning wooden structures and displays that bring forth the harmony between Korean and Japanese aesthetics. It is particularly popular with Japanese tourists for its feature in the Korean-Japanese movie “Cafe Seoul”.
The tea sets here range from homemade omija tea to medicinal tea. Pair it with some of their delicious rice cakes and sweet cakes.
- Address: 17-35 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 12:00pm-10:00pm
Cute, vintage vibes are everywhere in Ikseondong Hanok Village, and the popular antique store Assibangagan is at the center of it. This store offers a range of adorable scent-related knick-knacks that would make great souvenirs. Their product lines begin from their popular homemade aroma diffusers and candles.
Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, simply perusing this gorgeous little shop will put you in a great mood.
- Address: 47 Donhwamun-ro 11da-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 12:00pm-9:00pm
11. Rent Vintage Costumes at Ikseon Boutique
The typical (and absolutely fun) way to experience traditional wear in Korea would be to rent a hanbok and peruse the streets of Seoul or one of its hanok villages. However, why play by the books when you can do something a little different?
Ikseon Boutique is a small costume rental shop in Ikseon Hanok Village that specializes in vintage clothing costumes. Think post-war European-inspired dresses, three-piece suits, lace, feminine floor-length collage dresses, and pinstripe detailing.
Whilst it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we think it’s a total vibe!
If you’ve dressed up in a hanbok before and are looking for something different, check this boutique out!
- Address: Ikseon Boutique
- Hours: 9:00am-7:00pm
12. LeeJangSoo Lounge
At the end of the day, your legs will probably be protesting! All the walking around, popping in and out of shops and cafes, stopping here and there to take photos – it’ll take a physical toll on your body, that’s for sure!
We recommend heading to LeeJangSoo Lounge, a quaint little bar tucked away in a little street. LeeJangSoo offers a minimalistic menu of beers and cocktails as well as some decent food options.
The vibes are relaxing and chilled, with options to sit right at the bar or intimate tables. The decor is vibrant and eclectic, yet it all works in producing a space where you feel as though you can sit down and chat away with your friends for hours and hours.
We highly recommend you finish your exploration of Ikseondong Hanok Village here – it’s the perfect place to unwind.
Cheongsudang, which means “clear water room” is a stunning café located in the heart of Ikseon-dong. The entrance is a gorgeous pathway of stepping stones bordered by wooden lanterns across a small pond. If that’s not impressive enough, the café sits within a stunning hanok building, complete with wooden structures and surrounded by an array of greenery.
The interior of the café features glass window displays that showcase a beautiful garden with dim lights that come on at night. You can opt to sit on the floor with your shoes off, or enjoy a cup of coffee at a regular table. This is the perfect place to have a break and take some enviable photos for Instagram.
- Address: 31-9 Donhwamun-ro 11na-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 11:30-10:00pm
14. Nakwon Station Hanok Café
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Nakwon Station Hanok Café offers something a little bit different – think of a whimsical hanok café with a small railway built inside the café!
It’s a fairly new café on the scene, but it’s made splashes all over social media for its unique interior and stunning photo opportunities. The railway addition makes for a cool landscape for photos, but it’s the perfectly placed lighting and surrounding glass windows that really make the photo pop.
It’s super popular on the weekends, but if you do manage to find a seat, we recommend the coal coffee or the peanut latte.
- Address: 33-5 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Hours: 11:30am-10:30pm
Where To Stay Near Ikseondong Hanok Village
Insadong R Guesthouse
Insadong R Guesthouse offers affordable no-frills accommodation that’s comfortable and convenient. Located within the Ikseondong Hanok Village itself (despite its name), it’s less than 100m from the train line to access other parts of Seoul easily.
Each room boasts air conditioning, a TV, and a private bathroom. There is a communal lounge and kitchen that all guests can make use of as well.
Book It Now: Insadong R Guesthouse
Dajayon Hanok Stay
For the quintessential hanok village experience, why not stay at a hanok accommodation?
Dajayon Hanok Stay is a stone’s throw away from Ikseondong Hanok Village, and it features stunning traditional-style guest rooms complete with a gorgeous floral courtyard to relax in, wooden interiors for an authentic feel, and lovely traditional decor.
Notes from past guests include that it is extremely spacious and clear, and the location is perfect, being so close to many popular attractions.
Book It Now: Dajayon Hanok Stay
Orakai Insadong Suites
For the ultimate luxurious stay, Orakai Insadong Suites is the perfect accommodation. It is located on the outskirts of Ikseondong Hanok Village and is centrally located amongst many other attractions in Seoul as well.
It features premium guest rooms that boast large, comfortable beds, full kitchens, huge bathrooms, and great views. Hotel amenities include an expansive swimming pool, a fitness center, and sauna facilities. It is conveniently located near the station, and it is surrounded by restaurants and teahouses.
Book It Now: Orakai Insadong Suites
How To Get To Ikseondong Hanok Village
The location is Ikseondong Hanok Village could not be easier to get to! For those who are familiar with Seoul, it is located in Jongno-gu, close to Insadong and Jongmyo Shrine.
If you’re not sure what that means, simply follow these directions: take the train to Jongno 3-ga station and use exits 4 or 6. From there, venture past the traditional restaurants and soon enough, you’ll find yourself lost in the maze of the famous Ikseondong Hanok Village alleys.
As you can tell, Ikseondong Hanok Village is an absolute undiscovered gem that comprises everything you love about Korea and more! Cute cafes, charming architecture, quiet alleyways – all amid Seoul itself. Who would’ve thought?
Even if you don’t have a full day to dedicate to Ikseondong, we highly recommend at least a half day dedicated to getting to know this wonderful little neighborhood. It’s always good to go off the beaten path, and Ikseondong Hanok Village is one of the best ways to do it right now.
Have we enticed you to go pop this into your itinerary? What are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.
If you want to discover other Hanok villages in Seoul, make sure you also check out our guides about the best things to do in Seochon Hanok village, the best things to do in Eunpyeong Hanok Village, what to do in Bukchon Hanok Village and the best things to do in Namsongol Hanok village.